Bring Me the Horizon’s ‘Parasite Eve’ Is the 2020 Song of the Year
Bring Me the Horizon’s “Parasite Eve” is Loudwire’s pick for the 2020 Song of the Year. To celebrate the unintentional COVID-19 anthem, keyboardist and programmer Jordan Fish joined us via Zoom to break the song down.
As many BMTH fans know, “Parasite Eve” was not written about COVID-19, but the general, seemingly growing threat of a global pandemic as of 2019. As fate would have it, vocalist Oli Sykes picked the right topic, and as the world went into lockdown, Bring Me suddenly had a track that perfectly fit the zeitgeist of 2020.
“[Oli’s] mind went back to these lyrics he’d written last year,” Fish explains. “It was just a question of trying to make sure that it wasn’t offensive. You never know with these things. When they’re really topical, it can be really easy to fuck it up and be really insensitive. You don’t want to make it seem like you’re taking the piss or joking, but then, also, you don’t want to make it completely devoid of humor. There are a lot of elements about how you deal with this kind of thing that are quite, not funny, but it’s not all just deadly serious. Like the whole thing of putting a sneeze into the song and talking about the conspiracy theories and all that kind of stuff, I guess, is a bit playful.”
“Parasite Eve” debuted on June 25 to an uproarious reception from fans. The song became one of Bring Me the Horizon’s highest charting tracks, breaking the Top 10 of the United States’ Rock chart and hitting No. 1 on the UK’s Rock chart. In just six months, the video for “Parasite Eve” is on the brink of surpassing 20 million views on YouTube.
Bring Me The Horizon - Parasite Eve (Official Video)
It was Sykes’ idea to recruit DOOM soundtrack composer Mick Gordon for “Parasite Eve.” Bring Me sent the immersive track, along with others on Post Human: Survival Horror, to Gordon, who crafted layer after layer of soundscapes for the album’s lead single.
“Mick Gordon’s production is very detailed and it’s got a real creepy… lots of itchy sounds and real headphone detail,” Fish says. “He sent back around 25 tracks — a load of detail. To be honest with you, I don’t know how he does it. It basically sounds like a gnarly computer game, really.”
One of the many strengths of “Parasite Eve” is its post-genre feel, combining influences from rock, metal, hip-hop, pop, electronic and gamer culture. “We’re kind of culture vultures in a way,” Fish confesses. “I feel like we just steal the essence of what we think is cool from another genre and we’ll just be like, ‘We should try and use that in our shit.’”
“Oli was like, ‘Have you ever listened to Bulgarian folk?’ and I was like, ‘No, obviously not.’ He’s like, ‘Oh, it’s really fucking sick, you should check it out.’”
That song ended up being “Ergen Deda” from a Bulgarian folk album called Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares. “I was just like, ‘We should fucking start the song with this!’ We pretty much just pitched it down one semitone and that’s the start of the song. It’s barely even changed.”
Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares - Ergen Deda (Live on KEXP)
As for the lyrics to “Parasite Eve,” a fundamental question the song asks is, “When we forget the infection, will we remember the lesson?” We won’t know until late 2021, or even 2022, but Fish shared what he believes the lesson should be.
“The obvious lesson for me, as someone who doesn’t eat meat, is that keeping animals in cages really close to each other in torrid conditions is not a good idea,” Fish shares. “I know that’s probably not what people want to hear, and I would never want to be the preachy sort of vegan. I don’t ever talk about being vegan, because vegans do my head in. The more we fuck around with nature and manipulate it to extremes so we have huge numbers of animals in really, really close proximity… obviously, cruelness aside, it’s meddling with the balance of nature a little bit.”
Watch Jordan Fish break down “Parasite Eve” in the video below and congrats to Bring Me the Horizon for creating the Song of the Year!
Bring Me the Horizon's Jordan Fish Breaks Down 'Parasite Eve'